Members of The Park’s scientific community have voiced their concern over the growing number of research grants that are being awarded to investigators whose projects examine subjects that pertain directly to their own populations.
In a statement issued on 12 January, the Committee to Oversee Scientific Research in The Park (COSRIP) said that it is particularly concerned about the number of grants that have been approved for studies that address issues that are related, specifically, to small Animals. These projects, which involve laboratory research and clinical trials, are led by principal investigators who are members of the small Animal population.
“The number of grants awarded to small Animals is disproportionate to the Park’s scientific population but that, in itself, is not a cause for concern,” said Dr. Milada J. Goose, head of the Honking Hollow laboratory at the University of West Terrier, and a senior member of COSRIP.
“What we do find disturbing is that these small-Animal-led studies are focused on the concerns of the small Animal population. This undermines the studies’ credibility and characterizes them, whether rightly or wrongly, as ‘weesearch’ projects rather than as scientific investigations. We do not want to be seen funding studies that give the appearance of one community attempting to research its own concerns,” she said.
For its part, the Small Animal Scientific Community (SASC) has been quick to respond to the Committee’s accusation of conducting “weesearch.” On the occasion of the release of its annual report, SASC-WATCH, the organization’s president took issue with COSRIP’s criticism. Citing The Memory Project, the largest scientific investigation ever funded in The Park, SASC President, Tarquinius P. Shrew, accused COSRIP of bias against small Animals.
“The Memory Project is both led and staffed by Elephants, but they [COSRIP] have no qualms about funding it,” he said.
Nevertheless, Dr. Goose reasserted COSRIP’s commitment to root out any semblance of partiality in the studies that are funded in The Park.
“We do not support any community’s professional occupation with itself,” she said.